Saturday, December 12, 2009

Interview with Bodybuilder Janelle Gallo

I am very pleased to have had the opportunity to interview bodybuilder Janelle Gallo.

Hi Janelle. Thanks for agreeing to be interviewed. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Janelle Gallo
Years bodybuilding: 17 years
Years competing: 9 years
Height: 5'3"
Competition weight: 120lbs
Off-season weight: 150lbs
Occupation: Certified personal trainer (NASM), certified nutritionist (ISSA)

Competition History:
2001 NPC Natural NY State-1st place (heavyweight)
2001 NPC Natural Eastern Classic-2nd place (heavyweight)
2002 NPC Bev Francis Atlantic States-1st place & overall (middleweight)
2002-Musclemania Superbody-1st place
2002 NBI NY State Championships-1st place (Open short class)
2003-Musclemania Superbody-2nd place
2003 NPC Team Universe-5th place (MW)
2006-Musclemania Superbody-1st place
2006 NPC Team Universe-6th place (HW)
2007 NPC Bev Francis Atlantic States Championships--3rd place (MW)
2007 NPC Team Universe Bodybuilding Championships--2nd place (MW)
2007 NPC Nationals--16th place (LHW) 2008 NPC Nationals--13th place (MW)
2008 Nationals--13th place (MW)
2009 Team Universe--5th place (MW)

So, it looks like you trained for several years before you actually competed. During those early years, was it your goal to eventually step onstage as a competitive bodybuilder?

Not at that time. I was really enjoying working out. I liked the way I felt afterwards. I was more concentrating on being strong with the weights and doing cardiovascular exercise to keep lean. I wasn't even thinking that during that time I was resculpting my body.

You've competed both as a Middleweight and as a Heavyweight, with some success in each division. I think you last competed as a Middleweight. Do you consider that your true "home", or do you see yourself moving back up in weight?

I consider the middleweight division my true "home". It is there that I feel that my body shows the best package. I come in more conditioned. Being in the heavyweight division, I sacrifice my conditioning and bring more of a fuller look. I don't see myself going back up in weight unless my conditioning is on point.

Where do you train?

I train at World Gym in East Setauket, NY. It is on Long Island. The equipment there is old, but I get a sense of the old school feeling atmosphere. There are bodybuilders, powerlifters, boxers, MMA fighters and even fitness models that work out there. It makes it more motivating to train there.

Do you have any particular training philosphy that you follow?

I tend to do low-rep training with heavy weights. I enjoy it a lot. I love feeling strong! The only time I do high-rep training is when I work with my trainer, Jerry Scalesse once a week. I don't really enjoy high-reps. I hate it!

What is your diet like?

Since I am insulin-resistant (pre-diabetic), carbs just don't agree with me. I get very bloated, and store excess bodyfat even if I am doing my cardio. So, I follow a high-protein, low carb diet. I incorporate healthy fats, such as olive oil (lots of it!) and almonds. My carbs are only from green vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, and green beans. Protein sources are eggwhites, chicken, turkey, and fish. I don't do shakes or bars. I like to eat whole foods.

How did you first discover bodybuilding? Was it something that appealed to you immediately, or did it have to "grow" on you?

Bodybuilding kind of "grew" on me. I have been going to see bodybuilding shows since 1996. My two friends always competed and I always said I could never do what they do. They pushed me to try competing since they felt that I had the physique for it. It was then I got into training different bodyparts and learning more about bodybuilding. I competed for the first time in 2001 at 23 years old, and I loved it. I have been competing ever since then, with a 2 year hiatus in 2004 & 2005. Then I knew that bodybuilding is where I fit nicely. I loved the training and having a muscular, fit body.

What kinds of feedback and reactions do you get from friends and relatives, regarding your bodybuilding? What about from random strangers?

My friends have always been supportive of me with bodybuilding as well as my clients. They come to the shows and understand when I am dieting and getting ready for shows. My family is a little different. They don't really pay attention to it. My dad always loved me competing and shows my pictures to his friends but my mother doesn't really support me, which is fine. That is just something we don't talk about when we are together. As far as strangers go, I get compliments all the time. They even say they want to be fit like I am. It is always positive. But, sometimes I get stares from people and whispers behind my back. I don't care because I like how I look!

A couple of questions with regard to your desire to win your Pro card. First, what is behind that; what drives this dream of yours? And, second, do you see winning a Pro card as the "finish line" for your competitive career, or the start of a new career competing as an IFBB Pro?

I have always been an overachiever and competitive person. I want to be the very best at everything I do. The drive for the pro-card stems from this. Getting a pro-card, to me is the highest honors in the sport. You can't get any better than that! So, that is what I want to achieve. However, through the years I have not liked the direction of female bodybuilding. I am more in favor of the classic physique. So, I don't see myself competing in the pro ranks. I may try out the Figure division. Not sure yet. Will decide when that day comes.

What is your favorite body part to train?

Legs! It is my strongest bodypart. I love training them really hard. I spend 1 full hour on my legs and don't leave the gym until they are shaking. Then I know that I trained them good.

You've competed multiple times in the same year. How do you manage to peak for multiple contests like that? Do you give yourself a break in your diet between contests, or just keep it strict the whole time?

After each show I cheat that night and the next day and then it is back to strict diet again. I feel that this sparks my metabolism and helps me to peak for the next show. It is tough mentally competing several times a year but now I try to do 1-2 shows a year and give my body a rest.

Have you had any significant mentors in the sport? People who pointed you in the right direction early on?

I have to say my 1st nutritionist, Eric Huner, inspired me. He is so knowledgeable about nutrition that it is so intriguing. It is from him that I learned all about nutrition. In terms of bodybuilding, John DiFazio helped me out with my mandatory posing and the old school way of training. So, I learned a lot from him about the training aspect. Now, I have Jerry Scalesse (1987 Mr. Universe) helping me with training. He is great because he has that old school training technique that I love!

I would like to add that I currently work with John O'Reagan for my nutrition plan and feel that he is very knowledgeable and knows what is the best diet for my body type. Anyone wishing to contact John for nutritional planning may reach him at

Is there any current or past female bodybuilder whose physique you see as something to aspire to, or who has inspired you in some other way?

Definitely Cory Everson, Lenda Murray, and Valentina Chepiga. I love their classic physiques. They inspire me to sculpt my body to look more like them and take it to it's genetic potential. I loved the female bodybuilders of the 1980s. I wish female bodybuilding today would revert back to that look. They just had more aesthetically pleasing physiques that were like an art form but still feminine.

What are your plans, if any, for a next bodybuilding competition to enter?

To compete in the middleweight division at the 2010 NPC Team Universe Bodybuilding Championships. I have been competing in that show since 2003. I enjoy that show and always have a lot of fun there.

Best of luck to you, Janelle!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Interview with Bodybuilder Lisa Boushard

I am pleased to be able to present this interview with bodybuilder Lisa Boushard.

Hi Lisa! Can you give us some background on yourself?

Hi Paul, I started competing in 2001 and got my national qualifier in 2005. I recently placed 2nd at the Masters 2009 and then 4th at the USA's 2009. I am a Light Heavyweight, and plan on doing the North Americans and Nationals next year. I had hernia repair surgery October 5th which has to be in recovery until the end of December before I can hit the gym again, but can do cardio right now. I am 43 years old and live in St. Louis, Missouri. I work at the Powerhouse Gym of St. Louis as a operations manager and have a website: I am married, with 3 cats. I work with Dave Palumbo for show prep and am a sponsored athlete and featured on his website.

What was it that first attracted you to bodybuilding?

The thing that attracted me to bodybuilding is the amazing physique you can transform with hard work and dedication to the sport. I also like the way it builds one's self esteem and confidence.

You’ve been doing this for a little while now. How have you seen bodybuilding change over the years you’ve been involved with it?

I feel that when I first started competing in 2001 the look was: the bigger and harder you were the better. Now it has changed to be more soft but yet conditioned, and they want a fbb to have a more complete package with pretty hair and make up to make the presentation the best one she can offer.

What sort of work do you do as Operations Manager for Powerhouse? Are you actually in the gym, or doing planning sorts of tasks from an office?

I do everything at the gym. I train people, enter all new members, changes to their accounts and settle all payments due. Daily transactions with balancing the payments and sales for the workout day. I also enter all the products we carry in the pro shop. We all go the extra mile to make everyone's experience at our gym a good one.

Do you have any particular training philosphy that you follow?

I have been following the DC style training for sometime now. This is a high intensity low-rep style of training that is a rest pause program with a 2 day split. I love this type of workout because you are in a contest with yourself. I keep a journal and with each training session I have to either beat my weight or reps I did in the prior workout. This drives me to do better each time.

What would you say is the high point of your bodybuilding career so far?

Well, I have a few but I guess the best one so far would be winning 2nd place at the Masters Nationals this year. Then placing 4th at the USA's with 16 in my class. Some of the other competitors were half my age. This gives me great pride and drive to get better and better.
The other point was in 2005 when I won the “Most Conditioned Award” given by 4 time Ms. Olympia Kim Chizevsky at the Missouri State Bodybuilding show where I also won the Masters and the Overall award.

What is your favorite bodypart to train? Your strongest bodypart?

My favorite bodypart to train would be my back. I feel that this is my best asset to my physique. I would say it is a toss up on the strongest between my back and legs. I have surprised myself with what I have been able to do in the gym.

What kinds of feedback and reactions do you get from friends and colleagues, regarding your bodybuilding?

I get really good feedback from friends and colleagues the same. I feel that during contest prep and during the time that I get really lean for the show I tend to get a lot more stares from people, and that is simply because the average person does not walk around that lean and they haven't seen a female bodybuilder in person. Guys are usually “thumbs up and think it is great”. Women sometimes snarl at me, simply cause they are jealous. It all comes with the territory. You have to hold your head up high and know you look your best and you are very proud of your accomplishments. No one else matters really.

Do you try to stay close to contest weight in the off-season, or allow yourself to "bulk up"?

I am always trying to build my body for the next year's competitions. In my off season I try to stay within 25 pounds of my show weight. I do allow myself a bulk up time to build more muscle in the areas that need improvement.

Do you have a favorite muscle-building food or supplement that you can tell us about?

I usually eat the basics in the muscle-building food area. Mostly lean proteins, essential fats and carbs are a minimum for the workout fuel and recovery. I use all of the supplements that are made from Species Nutrition and Dave Palumbo. I use protein powder, joint formulas, omega fish oils, Juice Plus and Vitamin E to complete my nutritional formulas daily.

What advice would you give to a woman who is just now thinking of beginning to compete in bodybuilding?

I would say to stay true to yourself and create a work of art with your body that you love!! Not to do anything they will not be proud of or regret. Bodybuilding is so unique and the physique can be so beautiful if created properly. Find someone to help you with your contest prep that has experience working with female bodybuilders and that will listen to your goals and concerns in every aspect of the sport. I feel that this sport takes a special type of person with a lot of drive and dedication to become the best they can be.

Thanks, Lisa. We wish you a speedy recovery from your surgery, and a great year competing in 2010!